Labour 'apprentice for each foreign worker' scheme


Labour leader Ed Miliband: "It is wrong that millions of people in our country are going out to work, unable to afford to bring up their families."

Labour has said it plans to make large companies train a new apprentice for each skilled worker they hire from outside the EU.

The policy would create up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament, the party said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband also pledged to increase the minimum wage to help with the cost of living.

He was speaking ahead of the start of the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

The apprenticeship scheme would affect foreign nationals brought in under Tier 2 of the points-based immigration system - those offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker.

Labour said its research had found that many recently created apprenticeships have been for low-quality courses, and demanded that the number of high-quality apprenticeships be doubled.

'Brutish economy'

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Miliband said: "I want a high-wage British economy, not a low-wage brutish economy, and we've got plans to make that happen to drive up skills.

"So we're going to say to any firm who wants to bring in a foreign worker that they also have to train up someone who's a local worker, training up the next generation.

"We think that can create up to 125,000 new apprenticeships over the course of five years. And that is a massive boost in skills for our young people and that is really important."

But business lobbying group the CBI warned that Labour's plan could lead to more red tape.

Neil Carberry, CBI's director for education and skills, said: "We'd like to see more apprentices being taken on and agree that training through schemes such as apprenticeships are the long-term answer to skills shortages.

"However, we'd be concerned these proposals could add to red tape for firms.

"If we want to get more businesses offering more apprentices, it will be crucial to keep bureaucracy to a minimum and to make sure employers are in the driving seat when it comes to targeting funding."

Budget 'black hole'

On Saturday, Mr Miliband said Labour would increase fines for employers who deliberately broke minimum wage laws from £5,000 to a maximum of £50,000.

He told a crowd in Brighton that the national minimum wage was "one of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government" but it was falling behind price rises under the coalition government. He pledged to strengthen it.

If the national minimum wage had risen in line with the cost of living it would be 45p an hour higher than the current level, which is due to rise next month from £6.19 to £6.31, he said.

And he said the housing benefit cut - affecting social tenants in England, Scotland and Wales deemed to have spare bedrooms - would be scrapped.

Also in the Sunday Mirror, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott wrote that Labour should use the conference to talk about "all the good things" it did in power and how it could repeat that success, rather than reaching out to the Liberal Democrats about a potential coalition.

It comes as Mr Miliband rejected the prospect of former spin doctor Damian McBride - whose new book is being serialised in the Daily Mail - of ever working for Labour again.

Mr McBride resigned in 2009 after he was caught planning to smear senior Conservatives.

Meanwhile, Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Labour and the Liberal Democrats wanted to "clobber the rich" with tax plans he says would "penalise wealth creators".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    59. Steve
    Sadly this is not going to happen. I have just returned from China. Their people are hungry for self development and they are able to work for next to nothing. They have cheap housing and low costs.
    We as consumers want cheap products. We have expensive workers who don't need to work due to welfare state and are poorly educated and demand too much money.
    Manufacturing is dead in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    No its qualified skilled people like me who have to train them, and after a 10k pay cut and working for pence in the private sector I'm now told i've got to start training another (my 17th apprentice to date) while working for pence, then once he's trained they get rid of me to keep their costs down, stupid government

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Miliband went to Oxford due to the wealth of his Marxist family!
    He then entered the Labour Party and clawed his way to 'Leader' after being Harman and Brown's LICKSPITTLE, fawning and grovelling his way up the tree. Never having had a proper job, I find it insulting to be lectured by Red Ed about apprenticeships. He couldn't even lift a toolbox, Phah!

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    The reason so many people are going out to work and are unable to support their families is because whatever the colour of the government the "public service" zombies living on the public purse suck too much out of the economy and piss the money into the wind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Come tomorrow he will be promising to make the world round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    #132 since when has any opposition delivered detailed policies 18 months or more before a GE?.The Tories had NON prior to the Global economic crisis in 2007/8 and very few at the last GE other than privatise privatise privatise.The Tories claim austerity yet the debt is rising by approx £120bn each each since 2010.The economy is at best flat North of London.EM is merely considering ALL options

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    And still milliband continues to mock the British workforce, just ask yourself what an apprenticeship is, a pound to a penny it will be redefined under labour as any meaningless task that makes the numbers add up... Shame on you milliband, your farcical party will never return to power with this kind of policy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    By definition then - Labour will expect to have a further 125k workers from non-EU countries employed over their term in office just in large companies. Not exactly what we need to help the unemployed UK citizens methinks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Ok, so the big companies give apprenticeships to the young! Then what? A typical daft idea by Labour once again. We simply cannot compete with the cheap overseas labour. End of story.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    I find it interesting that this happens after the current government has been pushing for more apprenticeships for quite a while and the previous (Labour) government had been pushing for everyone to get a degree.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Our NHS our DWP our Local authorities are all importing friends and family from abroad to work with them.
    Labour created the biggest mess in UK history and now wants to make businesses pay for their ethnic diversity policy given that the only way to meet this is to import from Asia or Africa.
    Labour should be abandoned as a party because they fuel segregated by force Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    Apprenticeships are always a great idea, but why are they always aimed at teenagers?
    I made some poor career choices, and when I decided that I wanted to retrain, every course was aimed at school leavers.
    I bet there are thousands of people in their 20's, 30's and 40's who are stuck in jobs they hate, and would love an apprenticeship.
    Don't discriminate against people over eighteen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Labour, Tory, Lib Dems, they have all had multiple attempts to run the country and all failed. They are tied to ideologies of the past when a less sophisticated public were more easily manipulated. They have the same tires old answers to problems that are irrelevant in the modern world. If all else fails they bomb it. Watch out Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Would this also apply to the NHS.
    For every Doctor, Nurse, etc, bought in under tier 2 the NHS would train up a local worker?
    Could cost the state a fortune.

    Or does the new epiphany principle only apply to private businesses.

    More half baked ideas from the party that set the 50% degree target that caused the current problems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Chris Grayling - clobber the rich" with tax plans he says would "penalise wealth creators - this argument has been shown to be the biggest lie I've ever heard. The only wealth these type of people create is for themselves and they get the Tory party in particular to squeeze as much out of us by destroying our working conditions eg zero hours and lowering their taxes,

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    I started my Aerospace Apprenticeship in 1979. I was one of 30. The following 5 years only one additional Apprentice. I'm sure others on here have similar experiences.
    Leaders of Industry need to invest in existing population. Sure you will get movement between companies but the talent is home grown. Buying in Experience and never contributing to the Talent pool brings us to where we are today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    At least a policy from Miliband albeit an unworkable one. Judging from his Andrew Marr interview this morning he has policies on precious little else, still "looking" and "having to wait for the election". The Tories must be praying he and Balls are still in post when the election arrives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Apprentices can be paid less than the minimum wage, so if this idea ever happens and apprentices increase substantially in number, how will Labour reconcile this against their perpetual calls for a living wage. Typical hypocritical politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    112. SergueiTheMeerkat
    Apprenticeships aren’t supposed to be for those of Graduate Calibre, they are supposed to be for those who have more practical, hands on skills.
    Why do people think everybody has to go to University to get a reasonable standard of Education these days?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    It's a step.
    I've found Britain worst in Europe for letting corporates grab huge profits with no input eg. to workers training.
    Westminster's in their pockets. They make laws and are above any they haven't- 'high' level paedo and drug rings for instance.
    And even in Berlusconi's Italy, media challenges the elite more.
    Brits buy Tory/UKIP/banker line. And Labour's not much better.


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